Colours (Donovan song)

Donovan-Colours single.jpg
Dutch (Pye / Negram) sleeve
Single by Donovan
from the album Fairytale
  • "To Sing for You" (UK)
  • "Josie" (USA)
Released28 May 1965 (UK)
June 1965 (US)
Length2:44 (Side A)
2:46 ("To Sing For You")
3:29 ("Josie")
LabelPye 7N15866 (UK)
Hickory 45-1324 (USA)
Songwriter(s)Donovan Leitch
Producer(s)Terry Kennedy, Peter Eden, Geoff Stephens
Donovan UK singles chronology
"Catch the Wind"
Donovan USA singles chronology
"Catch the Wind"
"Universal Soldier"

"Colours" is a song written and recorded by British singer-songwriter Donovan.[1] The "Colours" single was released in the United Kingdom on 28 May 1965 through Pye Records (Pye 7N 15866) and a few months later in the United States through Hickory Records (Hickory 45-1324). The "Colours" single was backed with "To Sing for You" (previously included on What's Bin Did and What's Bin Hid) on the United Kingdom release and "Josie" (from What's Bin Did and What's Bin Hid) on the United States release.

Release and reception

Swedish release of "Colours" single.

Donovan followed up the success of "Catch the Wind" with "Colours", which featured a similar folk style. The single matched the success of "Catch the Wind" in the United Kingdom, reaching No. 4 on the charts. In the United States, "Colours" reached No.61 and marked a decline in the artist's popularity relative to "Catch the Wind". A different mix of the song (without harmonica) was released on his second album Fairytale.

When Epic Records was compiling Donovan's Greatest Hits, they were either unable or unwilling to secure the rights to the original recordings of "Catch the Wind" and "Colours". Donovan re-recorded both songs in the studio with Big Jim Sullivan playing guitar, John Paul Jones on bass and keyboards and Clem Cattini on drums, produced by Mickie Most. The re-recordings were included on the greatest hits album.

Other versions by Donovan

Covers by others

Single by No-Man
  • "Drink Judas"
  • "Colours (Remodelled)"
ReleasedJuly 1990 (7")
November 1990 (12")
Format7", 12", CD
RecordedNo-Man's Land, Hemel Hempstead (Title track)
GenreArt rock, dream pop
Length10:29 (7")
LabelHidden Art (7")
Probe Plus (12")
Songwriter(s)Donovan Leitch
Producer(s)Steven Wilson, Tim Bowness and Ben Coleman
No-Man singles chronology
"Ocean Song"
  • Joan Baez included a solo version of "Colours" on her 1965 album Farewell, Angelina.
  • In 1967, Van Dyke Parks created a (loose) instrumental adaption of this song titled "Donovan's Colours", which was released as a single (credited to George Washington Brown) and as a track on Parks' first album Song Cycle, respectively. This version features mostly the original chord progression, albeit in completely different ragtime arrangement.
  • Donovan collaborated with the Spanish group Mocedades for a cover of the song with Spanish/English lyrics included in the latter's 1986 album Colores.
  • A cover of the song, released in 1990, was the first single of British art rock duo No-Man and the first release under their current name (their first releases from 1989 had their previous moniker "No Man Is An Island").[2] The later re-release of the song had an original song, "Drink Judas", as a b-side.[3] Both songs were later included in the duo's 1992 third EP: Lovesighs – An Entertainment, with "Drink Judas" being re-recorded and "Colours" remixed.[4]
  • Finbar Furey included a version of "Colours" on his 2012 album of the same name.[5]
  • "Žlutá" by Zdena Lorencová was released in Czechoslovakia in 1972. This interpretation has lyrics in Czech language, which are mainly about yellow (žlutá) colour.


  1. ^ a b "Show 48 - The British are Coming! The British are Coming!: With an emphasis on Donovan, the Bee Gees and the Who. [Part 5] : UNT Digital Library". Digital.library.unt.edu. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
  2. ^ "Colours by No-Man (Single, Art Pop): Reviews, Ratings, Credits, Song list". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
  3. ^ "Colours by No-Man (Single; ; PP 27 T): Reviews, Ratings, Credits, Song list". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
  4. ^ "Steven Wilson - The Complete Discography (9th Edition)" (PDF). Voyage-pt.de. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
  5. ^ "Colours". Valley Entertainment. Retrieved 17 March 2014.

External links

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